By My Favorite Window

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Page created January 20, 2011
Sitting date:  June 25, 2010


Whenever I host a photo session, I try to schedule it so that we are here during the "optimal" time of day for this, my favorite window.  Frankly, most of the time, the light is average or sub-optimal, but fairly often, the planet aligns with the sun, and the weather cooperates, and we find interesting conditions for photography.  I'm always looking, and this day, we found some good conditions.

It's odd -- this really is my only north-ish facing window in my whole house.  My house is less than two feet away from a nine story building, but the building is set back from the sidewalk.  This window is on the second floor, but there is a rooftop garden in front of the neighboring building, and this window looks out over it.

Hey, if you can pull your eyes away from Tiana, you can see my new, wall mounted boom arm up above that door (which leads down to the front door).



Here's a token color image.  Even though it's in color, you can see that the image is pretty monochromatic, so why not use my sepia-toning process?

I think Tiana looks breathtaking in this image.  I don't often ask models to pose in this particular corner, but I do like how the light is softened by the window shade & how it sweeps across her figure.  I swear, she's like a sculpture of an idealized female figure.  She's just perfect! 





The lighting, or to be more specific, the exposure of these images is really challenging.  Especially with digital images, we can choose brightness & contrast easily -- or worse, we can choose to let our camera and/or our editing software to make those decisions for us.

But, I, for one, do this for the challenge.





I am a great admirer of models.  Being a model takes a lot more than being attractive.  Models have to focus.  Models have to know how to move.  Models have to appreciate the light & how they can interact with it.  Models have to understand what the photographer is seeing & what the photographer is trying to create, and they have to figure out how to help her/him create it.  The best models do this effortlessly.

I love the light in this image, above, especially the highlight under Tiana's chin. 





Many other photographers disagree, but I strongly prefer eye contact with the models who pose for me.  I hate images of models staring wistfully off into the distance, because I wonder why the photographer can be so boring as to fail to keep the model's attention.  I like the contact.

This image is a nightmare.  When one works with natural sunlight, the conditions can change radically in an eye blink, and then they can change again the next eye blink.  This image has exposure problems all over the place, but somehow it works for me.  It's a real setting.  Tiana's eye contact is comfortable, confident, and intimate.  I love how the light sweeps down from the window, and how we can see the white-on-white on the wall.

Call this a favorite.






It's funny -- the lighting conditions are difficult, but it's obvious that I'm excited by this setup.  I can tell by the large number of exposures we are making.

There was a time early in my involvement with photography when I was interested in perfection.  Everything in the image had to be perfect.  Everything in the image had to serve a purpose.  Everything had to be in focus.  Everything had to have the perfect tone.

Not anymore.  I like real settings.  I like being in the moment with all that happens.  I don't mind if the light on Tiana's knee has blasted out.  I'm beginning to embrace, or even love, all the imperfections.  Besides, any imperfections can make Tiana's perfection even more stunning.

I'm also noticing that I like to include a wider area in my images (not here, of course, but in other images).  It's interesting to me how my tastes are still evolving.





A couple of notes:
  • I don't know why this image came out so contrasty, and I'm not sure whether I like it or not.  I do know that the white along her side bleeding into the white of the window shade does bother me a bit, but I do love Tiana's post & expression.  
  • Space in this area is tight, so I often use a wide angle lens.  In order to minimize lens distortions, it's important to keep the lens strictly level.
  • I do like keeping the camera low.  In this case, the camera is pretty low, down around below Tiana's knees.  I like the overall perspective, and I especially like the downcast to Tiana's gaze.
  • I think part of the appeal to images like this is that there is a wide variety of lighting going on here.
  • I also like what that mirror does for the composition.  This image probably wouldn't be so interesting (or "balanced") to me if the wall was blank there.




When we are working on a concept, we try lots of variations, and I'm usually the one who says when we are done.  The good models, like Tiana, just keep moving & posing & responding to my feedback -- they are always showing me something new.

Tiana moves directly in front of the window shade, and we try some images there.  This is the transition image, where I include some of that side wall with the mirror.  I do like the balance of this composition, but I'm always searching for something newer.  So, I change camera position & use the window to frame the image.  I know it's an exposure nightmare, but if you never try, you'll never know.

Pay attention to how light wraps around Tiana's torso.  It's nice.







A typical sitting for me is about three different setups.  Tiana & I went three for three, making good images in the comfy chair, on the couch (best couch images ever!), and by my favorite window.

However, this sitting was not typical.  Tiana was here for a few days, and when her lodging arrangements fell through, I offered her my guest room (based on Betcee's recommendation).  In exchange for the guest room, Tiana agreed to let me photograph her when she got herself up.  So, we had one more setup to do.  Take a look.

Tiana In The Morning


(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated) 

All images (c) 2011 Looknsee Photography

Tiana, First Visit Out Takes

More than 130 more images from this sitting are available in the Out Takes Galleries, which are available to those who have made a donation to the upkeep of this web site.  See this FAQ question for more details.